AKI Partner Organization-Bam Animal Clinics Uganda
AKI's Partnership with Bam Animal Clinics
Bam Animal Clinics-Uganda became an AKI Partner in January 2020. Bam was founded in June 2009 and is located in Nakavule village, Iganga. While they work to improve the welfare of all animals, AKI is specifically supporting Bam's work to improve donkey welfare in Uganda.
Prior to becoming an AKI Partner, Bam Animal Clinics was a 2019 AKI Africa-Based Animal Welfare Organization Grant Recipient. For their grant project, Bam trained donkey owners in Kween district in the Eastern region of Uganda to make sisal sack saddles to protect donkeys from wounds caused by poorly made saddles or from using no saddles at all.
In Kween district, donkeys are a major source of transportation for food, fire wood, and water. The district is very hilly and has a very poor road network. Quite often, women are the major users of donkeys, since they are usually in charge of harvesting and getting fire wood and water.
Veterinary services are available mainly in the larger centers; the rural areas are less well-serviced and vet care is considered too expensive for most donkey owners.
Donkey are usually left in the rain and sun with no shelter. In rainy seasons, donkeys are usually pegged to single spots to prevent them from grazing on crops. Donkeys are slaughtered once they appear ill, or they may be sold to butchers to meet financial obligations.
The donkey skin trade is a problem in this area, as in most areas where donkeys are common. The Chinese make ejao out of the skin, a substance believed (without scientific evidence) to treat many different illnesses. Chinese buyers offer villagers money for their donkeys-or donkeys are stolen-and donkey populations can quickly decline, leaving villagers with no means to transport essentials.
Bam Animal Clinics is addressing the poor saddling practices, the lack of veterinary services, and the ejao trade through sisal saddle pack training courses (like the one funded with the 2019 AKI grant, pictures below), through mobile donkey vet clinics, and community humane education.
Wondering what Bam Animal Clinics means? David Balondemu, Founder & Director, explains:
"Bam comes from Bamu meaning United in our local language, but because during registration we found someone else had registered the same name, we cut off the ‘U’ still to keep it relevant with our original meaning. Clinics of course means that we have spay/neuter and other clinics, including donkey clinics...therefore, Bam Animal Clinics."
In December 2019, I (Karen) met with Bam Animal Clinics in Uganda: Dr. David Balondemu (Founder, Director, and vet-1st picture on the left), Dr. Kalange Muhamudu (Bam volunteer vet and District Veterinary Officer, Bugweri district-2nd picture on the left), and Dr. Kagoda Samuel (Bam volunteer vet and District Veterinary Officer, Iganga district-1st picture on the right). The pictures below were taken at the Uganda SPCA Haven (you might recognize Haven Shelter Manager Alex Ochieng in the middle). David, Muhamudu, Samuel, and I discussed Bam Animal Clinics' work, challenges, and goals, and the requirements of AKI partnership.